Tate Britain

Bernard Cohen Until 3 June 2018

Main Floor
Bernard Cohen, ‘Matter of Identity I’ 1963
Bernard Cohen, Matter of Identity I 1963. Tate. © Bernard Cohen

Enjoy fifty-five years of work by one of Britain’s most significant abstract painters

Bernard Cohen’s paintings are concerned with process as much as image. Although abstract, they are created with a strong understanding for tradition and connect with everyday existence and experience.

My paintings tell stories. Sometimes a single canvas will tell a number of stories.

Bernard Cohen, ‘Fall’ 1964
Bernard Cohen
Fall 1964
© Bernard Cohen
Bernard Cohen, ‘Out There’ 1994–5
Bernard Cohen
Out There 1994–5
© Bernard Cohen

The ‘stories’ Cohen's works tell are often about their own making. Over the years Cohen has used different techniques and materials, using a spray gun or his fingers to apply paint alongside the paint brush. This interest in process encourages us to ask how a painting is made and to analyse each mark in terms of its texture, colour and scale as well as how it was applied to the canvas.

Both individually and collectively, Cohen’s works can be seen as a series of diagrams about painting. He has said that he is 'looking for ways of making paintings that contain paintings'.

His works often involve overlapping patterns, shapes and line, producing multiple images within each composition. This complexity invites us to spend time understanding the relationships between these different elements as well as experiencing them together as one coherent picture.

Curated by Andrew Wilson


Tate Britain
London SW1P 4RG
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